How to get the English Gentleman Look
The luxe heritage look was really popular on last year’s catwalks, with brands from Missoni to Burberry offering up models clad in tweed and knitwear, three-piece suits and velvet jackets. This statement look continues to prevail as one of the biggest trends in menswear. Think attire for a day at the races or a clay pigeon shoot in countryside, harking back to an era in which every average Joe was a thoroughly ‘decent chap’.
Sophisticated, traditional and practical, the eternal elegance and ever so slightly romantic classicism of an English gent’s style should be worn effortlessly. The hallmark is to be neatly well-manicured, sporting impeccable, well-tailored clothes that fit perfectly. The look has of course been brought bang up to date with indulgent flourishes of colour (be it through ties, gloves, an umbrella, hats or knitwear). Remember to follow the rules of discreet good taste, but add a fun, flamboyant touch of your own here and there.
A suit is the wardrobe mainstay of any English gent. Ideally, this should be a beautifully bespoke item, purchased from a Savile Row tailor. Failing that, an off-the-peg suit from a reputable fashion house (depending on your budget, anything from Burberry to the ever-reliable M&S, as seen in the photo above). Current trends and your own build will dictate whether a suit is single- or double-breasted or has two or three pieces. Ideally town suits should be made from wool, their heaviness depending on the season, and in subdued grey or navy, either plain or pinstripe. Shoes? Well-polished Oxford brogues, of course.
Country suits are made in muted greens and browns with a restrained check or fleck. Team this tweed number with a bold-coloured turtleneck knit and/or checked shirt and flat cap. To follow correct ‘gent etiquette’, remember to unfasten your lower jacket button when sitting to avoid wrinkling the fabric. On a single-breasted suit only the middle button is fastened. Also, if a waistcoat is worn the lowest button is usually left undone.
It’s considered bad form to shirk wearing a tie for all but the most casual events, and a true aspiring English gent will have an enviable collection of pristine shirts and ties for every occasion. Today, the well-dressed man about town can don a conservative pastel stripe shirt with a toned-down tie, or opt for a splash of colour with a brightly patterned shirt and coloured bow tie.
The chino is the casual trouser, perfectly paired with a light linen shirt and a straw or Panama hat in high summer. For casual outerwear, look to blazers in the warmer months, one colour or striped, dependent on your own style sense. Country casuals are an open-neck shirt, quilted jacket and corduroys.
Cosy up for the chillier season. Choose a pale fawn mackintosh or classically tailored camel coat. Knitwear is a huge part of this trend, be it a casually draped scarf or an oversized patterned jumper slung over a tailored shirt for a pared down look.